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How Environmental Issues, Zoning And Planning Affect Land Value

By Author: Chris Westerman
Total Articles: 133

Environmental, zoning and planning considerations affect Land investments.

The Localism Act 2011 reset the rules for land investing. Concerns for local control in planning, zoning and environmental matters can be an opportunity.

Among the many implications of the Localism Act 2011 are those that affect UK investors in land. Formerly, a land investor needed to heed regional decisions regarding land use if the goal was to convert undeveloped property to residential or commercial uses. But a new set of rules shifts those decisions to local councils. The effects of the act are only beginning to be felt, but no one should characterize it as all good or all bad for the investor.

The Act altered the landscape, so to speak. That is not necessarily a bad or good thing – as illustrated by the following points:

Sustainable communities/Environment – The imperatives to develop in ways that are favourable to the environment are necessary and satisfy the consensus of thought about such matters. While this may negate some plans to use certain properties for certain uses, we now have a clearer idea on what can and cannot be done. It is that certainty that the investor needs.

Sustainable communities/Local economy – The land investor is now required to make a case for the long-term impact a land use designation change might have on the local economy. So be it! The land investor wants only to increase the value of property, and that cannot happen if the end-use fails to meet a market need.

Planning – With planning functions now distributed to local councils, there will be theoretically smarter decisions made and plans drawn. We say “theoretically” because it assumes expertise and rational thought in all municipalities, which may not always be the case. Investor groups are tasked with providing a convincing case for how a development will ultimately benefit the community at large.

Zoning/Land use designation changes – As local decisions are made about zoning changes, they can also be subject to a voter referendum where the majority vote wins. Is it a good thing when citizens overrule elected officials on land use? There are probably as many answers to that question as there are sheep in Australia.

What should be clear is that entering into UK land investment is not a casual affair. One needs to go about it strategically with a convincing land site assembly plan. As more UK investors are drawn away from the stock market to alternative investments,many elect to work with UK land fund managers who are schooled in all of the factors cited above and who can best predict how to achieve asset growth from strategic land development investments.

As should be the case with all investments, individuals should work with a personal financial consultant to identify which investment strategies fit their individual needs and risk tolerances.

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